The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it plans to use 10,063 ad hoc staff for the November 16 Bayelsa State governorship election.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Bayelsa, Monday Tom, said this at a Roundtable on INEC’s preparedness for the conduct of the election organised by The Electoral Institute, the research arm of the commission in Abuja on Tuesday.
“We require a total of 10,063 ad hoc personnel made up of collation and returning officers and others and we have sourced all the required number.
“Movement of non-sensitive materials to Registration Area Centres (RAC) Super RACs is to take place from Nov. 11 to Nov. 13 and the police have assured of adequate security for the materials,” he said.
Mr Tom said political parties have been communicated to notify INEC of their political activities and to submit their agents’ list to the Commission.
He said the Bayelsa election was unique because 75 per cent of the state was on water adding that youths in the state were also vulnerable to violence due to drug influence.
He assured that the commission was working with stakeholders to guarantee credible, free and fair election in the state.
TEI Board Chairman, Adedeji Soyebi, said efforts were being made to strategically reposition INEC and strengthen its capability to deliver successful election in Bayelsa leveraging on lessons from the 2019 general election.
Mr Soyebi said the state election would be approached differently due to its terrain, adding that the commission would work closely with transportation providers especially boats and canoe owners for successful transportation.
Torki Dauseye, Executive Director, Family Welfare Foundation and member of the Bayelsa NGOs Forum, said though INEC was prepared in terms of getting electoral materials and logistics ready but deployment might be challenged.
Mr Dauseye said in terms of deploying electoral materials and personnel to electoral wards and polling units, INEC’s level of preparation was yet to be ascertained.
This, he said, was because Bayelsa was unique in terms of geographical layout, making communication and transportation very difficult for ad-hoc personnel on election duty as they take real and serious risks.
“The state is 75 percent riverside with a poorly developed transportation system in windy creeks and rivers make transportation difficult, due to this difficulty in movement, it has always been difficult for INEC to start elections by 8am as directed by guidelines.
“In many cases electoral officers find it difficult to see boats to hire on election days, due to the serious security challenges being faced in some parts of the state, boats are made to navigate through longer route; this makes it more expensive both in terms of logistics and fuelling.’’